Unconventional Conflicts in a New Security Era: Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

By Sam C. Sarkesian | Go to book overview
conference on low-intensity conflict at the National Defense University. We tend to agree with one reviewer that the author of the book, "buries his analysis in general circumstances. ... Narratives of the case studies are interesting, if truncated and selective.... There is little of redeeming value in this volume"; see review by William J. Olson in Parameters, vol. 19, no. 2 ( June 1989), pp. 106-8.
6.
As noted in several earlier sections, there are a number of sources debating U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War. One of the most recent and interesting, although brief, is the Letters to the Editor exchange among various U.S. Army officers in Parameters, vol. 20, No. 1 ( March 1990), pp. 103-14.
7.
John Gates, "Vietnam: The Debate Goes On", in Matthews and Brown, p. 46. See also in the same book, Harry G. Summers Jr., "A Strategic Perception of the Vietnam War", pp. 35-41.
8.
See, for example, Chalmers Roberts, "The Day We Didn't Go to War", The Reporter, September 14, 1954, pp. 31-35.
9.
See U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Background Information Relating to Southeast Asia and Vietnam, 5th revised ed., March 1969, hereafter referred to as Committee Report on Southeast Asia, pp. 114-18. The treaty was signed by Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
10.
See Committee Report on Southeast Asia, 119-20.
11.
For a study of the personalities and events related to U.S. involvement, see Townsend Hoopes , The Limits of Intervention ( New York: David McKay, 1969).
12.
Hugh Mulligan, No Place to Die: The Agony of Vietnam ( New York: William Morrow, 1967), p. 318.
13.
Peter Braestrup, Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington ( Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1977), vol. 1, xxxiii. The evidence in Braestrup contradicts the view presented in Loren Baritz , Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us Into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did ( New York: Ballatine Books, 1985), p. 274.
14.
Ibid., p. 184. See also Sam C. Sarkesian, "Soldiers, Scholars, and the Media", Parameters, vol. 17, no. 3 ( September 1987), pp. 77-87; and William M. Hammond, United States Army in Vietnam: Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962-1968 ( Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988). Hammond's conclusions do not focus on the impact of the media's reporting of the Tet Offensive on domestic audiences. It is one thing to note that contradiction in strategy and what this created with respect to the reporting of the war. It is another to discount the misinterpretations and inaccurate reporting of the Tet Offensive to the American people. See also Grinter and Dunn, p. 144.
15.
The battle for Hue is one example of the kind of conflicts that occurred in parts of Vietnam. This was probably one of the most bloodiest and vicious of the war. While the military battle was reported extensively including heavy casualties, little was told by the media of the horror inflicted upon the people of Hue by the Communist forces, including execution of officials, students, policemen, leaders, and intellectuals. For descriptions of the battle, see Michael Herr, Dispatches ( New York: Avon Books, 1978); and Allan R. Millett, Semper Fidelis; The History of the United States Marine Corps ( New York: Free Press, 1982), pp. 559-606.
16.
William Colby with James McCargar, Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam ( Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989), p. 231.
17.
See "Global Defense, US Military Commitments Abroad", Congressional Quarterly Service, September 1965, pp. 58-64, for a chronology of events leading to escalation.

-119-

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Unconventional Conflicts in a New Security Era: Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Conflict Analysis: The Comparative Framework 3
  • Notes 22
  • Part II - Comparative Analysis 25
  • 2 - The State of the Nation: Great Britain, the United States, and Unconventional Conflicts 27
  • Notes 53
  • 3 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: Malaya 55
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: The Diem Period in Vietnam 79
  • Notes 93
  • 5 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: The United States and the Second Indo-China War 95
  • Notes 119
  • 6 - Nature of Indigenous Systems: Revolutionary Systems 123
  • Notes 136
  • 7 - Nature of Indigenous Systems: Counterrevolutionary Systems 137
  • Notes 161
  • 8 - Conclusions: Malaya and Vietnam 165
  • Part III - Conclusions: What Needs to Be Done 183
  • 9 - The United States and the Emerging Security Agenda 185
  • Notes 198
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 227
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